SEATTLE, WA – (club release) Seattle Reign FC will host Arsenal Ladies FC in an international friendly match this Thursday, May 26. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT at Memorial Stadium.
Arsenal Ladies FC, who compete in the Football Association Women’s Super League (FA WSL) in England, are considered the most successful club in English women’s football. Since their founding in 1987 the club has secured 43 major trophies, including winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League title in 2006/2007. Most recently, Arsenal Ladies won the FA Women’s Cup, defeating Chelsea 1-0 in the final at Wembley Stadium on May 14 in front of a crowd of 33,000.
Thursday night’s matchup should be intriguing given the connections between Reign FC and Arsenal Ladies. Laura Harvey, head coach and GM of Reign FC, served as Arsenal’s manager from 2010 to 2012 before joining Seattle on December 21, 2012. In addition, Reign FC midfielder Kim Little played for Arsenal Ladies for the five years prior to her move to Seattle, having joined the iconic London club in 2008 at the age of 17.
“Arsenal is a great club, has great tradition, and set me on a journey which led me to be here with the Reign – which is a place that I love,” said Harvey. “There are great players with Arsenal, so I think the game will be great. It’s good timing for us because we need something a little different.”
In 2011 Harvey led Arsenal to the treble, winning the FA Cup, Continental Cup and FA WSL title while earning recognition as the FA WSL coach of the year for her efforts. During her time with Arsenal, Harvey picked up six trophies, including three consecutive league titles. “There are only four players left on the team from when I was there, but Arsenal will always have a place in my heart,” said Harvey.
In August of 2014, Pedro Martinez Losa, former assistant coach of the Western New York Flash, signed on to head Arsenal Ladies. Arsenal’s roster today boasts several internationals, including defender Emma Mitchell, who plays alongside Reign FC midfielder Kim Little and defender Rachel Corsie on the Scotland women’s national football team. Arsenal’s squad includes five England internationals who featured in England’s historic third-place finish at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup: defenders Alex Scott and Casey Stoney, midfielders Fara Williams and Jordan Nobbs, and forward Jodie Taylor, who just played her first match for Arsenal after joining from Portland Thorns FC. Fara Williams is England’s all-time leader in caps with 150, while Scott and Stoney both occupy slots in the list of top-five most capped players for England. In addition, Arsenal Ladies features Nigerian national team forward Asisat Oshoala, who signed with Arsenal in March of this year after winning the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award in 2015 for her impressive debut in the Women’s Super League with Liverpool Ladies FC.
On Tuesday, the BBC honored on Reign FC midfielder Kim Little as the 2016 Women’s Footballer of the Year, meaning the only two recipients of the prestigious award will face each other on Thursday evening in Seattle.
“Especially with the award being from Great Britain, I think it’s great that she gets some recognition from back home,” said Harvey of Little’s honor. “We all know how good she is. Sometimes people miss it because she hasn’t had the opportunity to play on a major tournament stage for Scotland yet, but I think that will come in the next year. From her perspective, I know it’s fantastic that her week-in and week-out performances are being recognized. It’s great for the league and it’s great for the club.”
Reign FC currently reside in sixth place in the NWSL standings with a 2-3-1 record and seven points. Thursday’s match against Arsenal will be the second of three matches in eight days, but Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey welcomes the friendly as an opportunity for growth before the team takes on Portland Thorns FC in Portland on Sunday, May 29.
“It always about ourselves and what we need to be better at,” said Harvey about training for the upcoming matches against Arsenal and Portland. “We have been disappointed with our performances at times this season, but we have a group of players who want to keep progressing and I hope to see this over the next two games.”
Tickets to tomorrow’s friendly against Arsenal FC begin at $18 and can be purchased at reignfc.com/arsenal or by calling (855)-REIGN-FC.
About Seattle Reign FC:
Seattle Reign FC is one of ten teams in the National Women’s Soccer League. The NWSL is the premier women’s professional soccer league in North America, featuring many of the top players from the United States, Canada and around the world. Seattle Reign FC train and host home matches at Memorial Stadium, located in the shadow of the Space Needle on the Seattle Center campus. For more information on the club visit reignfc.com.